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Super Intern Contest – GRIPPED

Wednesday, 13 June 2012  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary 
Word Count: 61,000 


Dear Ms. Chapman:

Taylor Stewart leads a life that,while privileged, is wrought with pressure-filled expectations. Although she has successfully navigated her way through the first three years of high school meeting, and often exceeding, these expectations, she has not done so without a little help. Taylor is an alcoholic.

Alcohol has been the perfect partner,giving her the boost of confidence she needed to become the captain of the cheer squad, as well as the most popular girl at her exclusive high school. It also offers an escape from her pressure-filled life, while numbing the bitterness, hurt and resentment she feels towards her absentee parents.

Unbeknownst to her, she is quickly reaching her limit of sustainability. When she is unexpectedly dumped by her star-athlete boyfriend, she is finally pushed past the tipping point and the delicate façade she has built begins to crumble. As she begins to rely even heavier on alcohol to simply make it through the days and hold everything together, the more quickly her life spirals out of control. The end result is catastrophic and threatens to change the course of her life forever.

Gripped is an edgy, contemporary young adult novel, complete at 61,000 words. The manuscript is available upon request.

I spend my days writing technical environmental documents for a large environmental consulting firm. I spend my nights writing young adult fiction. I am a member of SCBWI.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration!

250-word excerpt:

“I think we should do our own thing this year,” Blake says, staring at the road ahead as a tangle of brown limbs and green  leaves whiz by in a blur.

“Huh?” Taylor does a double take, whipping her head to the left.

“It’s not you, babe. It’s senior year and we both need to let loose and have fun,” he continues.

“Are you serious?” she asks in disbelief, the pitch of her voice rising two octaves above normal.

The car slows as they near a stop sign before accelerating forcefully, causing her head to jerk back against the seat. She watches him stare stone-faced at the road ahead of him, leaning slightly forward in the driver’s seat. He’s gripping the wheel so tight his knuckles are white. He lets go with one hand, running it through his surfer boy hair.

We are happy. We have fun together.Everything is great. Why is he saying these things?

Panic spreads through her body like wildfire. Her ears start ringing like she’s been standing next to a loudspeaker for too long. He starts to speak again, but the ringing is so loud it drowns out all of the sound coming out of his mouth.

Her mouth begins to water. The craving for a drink hits her with so much intensity that her bones ache with need.

She finally turns away from him and glances down, desperately trying to divert her attention and slow her breathing.Something shiny catches her eye. The mirrored inside of a granola bar wrapper is sitting on the black floor mat beside her foot. She nudges it with her big toe, pushing it to the side. The leather seat feels cool on the back of her legs as she nudges the wrapper.

Filed: Contests, Misc


    This isn’t a bad start. I like the query. It flowed well. I really like the first paragraph. The sentence. “Taylor is an alcoholic.” packs a punch. I kind of like how you make Alcohol out to be a character in this. It’s interesting. When I read things like “Unbeknownst to her” it worries me, especially if Taylor is the narrator. She would have to know, if we know, right? Or maybe, before she knows it, or something non-cliche’d would work better. This isn’t a bad start though.


    This is really good writing. I’m right there with them in that car. And most of all, I get an idea of Taylor right away. She wants a drink. You stated she was an alcoholic in the query, so this highlights that right away. I would read more of this.

    Thank you for sharing your work ;o)

  • Laurie says:

    Thanks for your feedback! I really appreciate it. Oh, and I just added that “unbeknownst to her” part right before I sent it off. I’ve been working on this query for quite a while now, trying to tweek it. I’ll take tha part out. I didn’t really like it, either.

    Thanks again!!!!!

  • You’re welcome!! I know what you mean. Queries. *sigh*

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